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Jackie Baldwin jackie@story-lovers.com
Kate Dudding kate@katedudding.com

Innovative Projects
Below is a list of innovative storytelling projects that can serve as model projects for other communities. Most of these projects:

  • have been documented in journal articles or books
  • cover a range of subjects including art, character building, history, language, mathematics, music, and science
  • are applicable from PreK through college settings
  • deal with oral storytelling (Projects on digital storytelling were not included since it is quite a different means of communication than oral storytelling)
The papers are listed in chronological order, most recent first. An asterisk (*) at the beginning of a title indicates that the entire paper, or at least information in addition to the abstract, is available on-line. For information on obtaining copies of journal articles not on-line, click here.

A few of these projects were conducted outside a classroom setting; however, they could easily be adapted to a classroom setting. This list will continue to be updated.

  1. * Unlocking Potential with the Power of Storytelling 2007

    The nonprofit organization, Storytelling Arts Inc., based in Roosevelt, New Jersey, recognizes the power of the ancient art of storytelling and dedicates itself to helping unleash more of storytelling’s potential to help students overcome barriers that may be interfering with their learning processes..

  2. * Environmental Education by the Pacific Northwest Fisheries Program, USDA Forest Service 2007

    Each year, the Forest Service Fisheries Biologists and education specialists host a variety of aquatic education programs specially designed for children of all ages, including the Salmon Storytelling Tent.

  3. Storytelling for Emotionally Challenged Children 2007

    For seven years, professional performing artist David Ponkey has been bringing European myths to abused children in the Sunny Hills Children’s Center, as well as associated group homes and schools throughout Marin County, California. He has come to believe that high quality storytelling performances are the “pill” for attention deficit disorder.

  4. * National Literacy Project Telling its Story in Evansville 2007

    Developed 12 years ago by professional storyteller and Ohio State University teacher Kevin Cordi, the Story Box allows children from around the globe to create their own stories and share them with one another. The Story Box arrived this week from New Mexico, and it will be here in Evansville, IN, until early September.

  5. * Programs for Environmental Awareness and Cultural Exchange 2007

    Michael Caduto's participatory performances engage through the use of creative and theatrical storytelling, music, dance and guided imagery. His performances include natural history and enviromental programs, multicultural and earth stewardship programs, as well as Native American tales.

  6. * Historical Monologues in the Classroom: How to Make Kids Love History 1995-2007

    From 1995 to the present, teaching artist Pippa White has brought historically-based, one-woman shows into the Nebraska Public Schools to help students better understand history, language arts, social studies and interpersonal communication. She specializes in bringing these historical characters to life, speaking in their own words to describe their experiences.

  7. * Telling River Stories 2007

    The Telling River Stories project aims to recover a “people's history” of the urban river in the Twin Cities. This history will be disseminated to the public in a series of creative, educational, interpretive installations constructed along the river itself, and through an array of ancillary materials that reinforce the stories told through those installations.

  8. * Tales with Tails Storytelling Programs 2007

    Award-winning artist, children's author and storyteller Kevin Strauss has programs to help you learn about the environment, prevent bullying, enhance critical thinking skills, inspire readers and improve writing skills at your school.

  9. * The Complete Storymaker: Improving student storytelling and writing through work with creative drama 2007

    Dramatizing a well-known folktale provides a springboard to physically model verbs, build story action and character, develop vocabulary and, overall, improve student storytelling and writing.

  10. * Story Pack from BBC School Resources 2007

    This exciting new listening-and-doing series offers teachers an invaluable and flexible resource to enthuse children and generate classroom activities in all curriculum areas, through the power of story.

  11. Act!vated Storytellers 2007

    This duo of performers design their many workshops to meet and enhance curriculum standards in language, literature, fine arts, theatre and world history and culture. A combination of storytelling and theatre, the productions utilize a variety of skills and elements, including sign language, physical comedy, audience participation, music and dance.

  12. * Abenaki Storytelling 2007

    Much of Joseph Bruchac's work draws on the land and his Abenaki ancestry. Among many other awards, he received both the 1998 Writer of the Year Award and the 1998 Storyteller of the Year Award from the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers.

  13. * Environmental Education Programs 2007

    Storyteller Louise Omoto Kessel knows wild places and has worked to protect them. She combines her love of the natural world and her experiences working as an environmental educator and activist, to create storytelling programs for outdoor settings, science curriculum, Earth Day celebrations, conferences, meetings, calls to action, and other awareness-raising events.

  14. * Puppeteer Helps Troy Create Its Own Story 2007

    The whole school year had been about stories, and kids had listened to many tales through the winter months. International travelers had shared stories. So had American Indians. By the time puppeteer Beth Nixon showed up, funded by a Pew foundation grant, the students were ready to tell their own stories of their town of Troy.

  15. Storytelling for the Classroom 2007

    In his normal work at the library, Nick Smith uses storytelling with elementary school children. Teachers have commented that: 1) Storytelling gets the kids excited about the material; and 2) The students recognize the difference between someone "just" reading them a story, and someone telling them the story.

  16. Stories-in-the-Making and Everyday Heroic Journies 2007

    Beatrice Bowles encourages children to view their own lives as stories-in-the-making. For elementary students, she emphasizes delights of the written, spoken and heard word as shown in our rich heritage of wonder tales. With middle grade and older students, she focuses on themes in our heroic and yet everyday journeys.

  17. * Living Streams: Stories for Healthy Watersheds 2006

    Living Streams is a 50-minute storytelling assembly program for kindergarten through sixth grade students. It includes participatory stories; questions and discussions about healthy watersheds; and an on-line curriculum guide.

  18. * Ojibwemowin Environmental Education Curriculum 2006

    The purpose of this study is to develop an Ojibwe language (Ojibwemowin)-based environmental curriculum focused on the traditional methods of learning through storytelling for Native American students.

  19. * Storytelling and Environmental Education for Teachers and School Media Librarians 2006

    This workshop for teachers explores how storytelling provides a framework to help students engage in science and facts (and environmental science in particular). It offers suggestions on how to find, prepare, and present a good story, and provides a bibliography of storytelling books related to environmental science.

  20. * Picture Perfect, The Power of Storytelling in Museums 2006

    Storytelling in museums is the magic of making objects speak. Museum story artists wrap history in a cloak of tales, reveal the heart of scientific discovery tells the tale of an artist's life or brings life to characters within, and provides a verbal context for objects that enables visitors to engage more effectively with those objects (paintings, sculptures, hangings and more).

  21. Using Improvisational Storytelling in the Classroom 2006

    In this article, the author outlines a way of incorporating storytelling into instruction through the use of improvisational storytelling games. He suggests that teachers first lay out some ground rules regarding language, content, process and time limits, and behavior. He then suggests a variety of games that incorporate middle-level curriculum topics.

  22. The Storytelling Classroom: Applications Across the Curriculum 2006

    This book is an inspiring, practical and immediately applicable collection of pre-K through eighth grade lesson plans by and for teachers and media specialists who use storytelling in the classroom and storytellers who work in the classroom. Each lesson plan is linked to national education standards.

  23. * Fairy Tales Fascinate Professor of German 2006

    Professor Donald Haase, Chair of the German and Slavic Studies Department at Wayne State University teaches the course “Understanding the Fairy Tale,” started back in the mid-80s, which has closely linked Haase’s teaching with his research. “You feel you have to justify teaching and researching fairy tales,” he said, “because it seems unusual. But in fact, it couldn’t be more pertinent. You get to deal with social, cultural and political issues because fairy tales always turn up in the struggle over values."

  24. * Booker T. Washington Community Center Marks History Through Stories, Art 2006

    Students are going to listen to the stories and then conduct follow-up interviews with the storytellers. Based on their conversations with the community, students will develop sketches and, after approval by the community, will create — inside and outside the building — community-based art embodying the stories they heard.

  25. Humanizing the Teaching of Physics through Storytelling: The Case of Current Electricity 2006

    This article discusses the potential role of storytelling in the teaching and learning of physics, using the discovery of current electricity as an example.

  26. A Little-Used Art of Teaching: The Case of Storytelling 2006

    Telling a mathematically-based story can be a break from the routine and can serve as literary mnemonics full of mental imagery that helps students recall in problem-solving steps.

  27. Storytelling and First Person Narrative Writing 2005

    Donald Davis explains in Writing as a Second Language that hearing and speaking are easier and more natural for most students than reading and writing. Therefore, Mary Garrett used storytelling to help her sophomores in high school write their own personal narrative stories.

  28. “Telling Tales”: The Teaching of American History through Storytelling 2005

    By applying the metaphor of history as storytelling, the social studies teacher can relate to students the excitement, paradox, and importance of the adventure story that constitutes American history.

  29. Storytelling with Young Children 2005

    In this book, the author updates her earlier work on this topic and clearly explains the skills and methods needed to engage young children. Through storytelling, the child's imagination is stimulated, their knowledge enhanced and language skills extended.

  30. Listening to Nysia: Storytelling as a Way into Writing in Kindergarten 2005

    In this article, the author shares what she is learning about the place of storytelling in beginning writing. In working closely with teachers and students, the author learns that: (a) Teachers must broaden their definitions of writing; (b) If teachers value storytelling as part of writing, they must build in supportive structures; and (c) Storytelling allows curriculum to be co-constructed between teacher and student.

  31. * Museums of Memory 2004

    With their storehouses of objects, that enhance recall of personal memories, support storytelling, and may aid in psychological healing, and their places where people can meet and talk, museums and historic sites play a vital role in the process of remembering and making sense of the past, even memories of the darker chapters in human history.

  32. * Storytelling Magic:Enhancing Children’s Oral Language, Reading, and Writing 2004

    Storytelling is an exciting way to engage children in listening, speaking, reading, and writing throughout the curriculum. We hope this article provides an invitation to incorporate the joy of storytelling into your classroom, so that both you and your students will live happily ever after.

  33. Storytelling Sagas: An Effective Medium for Teaching Early Childhood Mathematics 2004

    This article describes a unique supplementary program that teaches early childhood mathematics (Pre-K to Grade 2), through a series of six problem-solving adventure stories. The mathematics concepts are taught to the children through the medium of oral storytelling sagas in an integrated approach that addresses language arts as well as early childhood mathematics competencies.

  34. * Stories Tame the “Drama Class from Hell” 2004

    Faced with a large group of belligerent, out-of-control teenagers in a drama class, teacher/storyteller Mary Garrett used all her storytelling skills and the right kinds of stories to achieve enthusiastic responses from students who learned to exhibit positive, cooperative behavior toward each other and the teacher as they told oral stories in performance.

  35. * Imagination River Storytelling Camp 2003

    the Imagination River Storytelling Camp project paired four middle schools each with a professional storyteller and their public librarian and taught 120 kids in four middle schools to be storytellers.

  36. Parent as Storyteller 1990-2002

    Since 1990, Joan Leotta has been working to help parents use story as a bridge to better parent-child relationships and as a door for children into the world of literacy.

  37. * Motivating Children to Write Using Storytelling 1994-2002

    This highly interactive, lively workshop grew out of eight years of work with special education students, their teachers and classroom aides. The presenter tells stories and uses a 12-page handout as a guide through word lists of verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

  38. * Building Bridges: How Storytelling Influences Teacher/Student Relationships 2001

    These studies suggest that the activity of storytelling has an impact on participants' interpersonal relationships, empathy, and sense of "connectedness" in the classroom.

  39. * The Cottonwood 2001

    A well-told science story can bring acts to life, make abstract concepts concrete, and walk the listener through the process of scientific inquiry.

  40. History Happens Day by Day 2001

    This paper contends that teaching students about history through storytelling enlivens the classroom and enables students to understand the past, their own history, and culture.

  41. Helping Preservice Teachers Discover the Value of Storytelling Strategies in Language Arts Instruction 2001

    The purpose of the workshop was to provide students an opportunity to explore and practice storytelling strategies that could be implemented in a language arts curriculum. The preservice teachers' responses indicated this innovative method could help bridge the gap between theory and real world applications for children.

  42. Subjective Experience and the Preparation of Activist Teachers 2000

    This paper describes the use of autobiographical storytelling, personal myths, and visual imagery in preparing elementary and special educators for activist roles in creating effective, inclusive schools.

  43. History as Storytelling: Voices from the Past 2000

    This paper focuses on the use of storytelling as a means of teaching history, making it interesting and tangible for even the youngest child.

  44. Breathe Life into History through Story in the Elementary Classroom 2000

    This paper describes the use of autobiographical storytelling, personal myths, and visual imagery in preparing elementary and special educators for activist roles in creating effective, inclusive schools.

  45. * What Makes a Good Case? Some Basic Rules of Good Storytelling Help Teachers Generate Student Excitement in the Classroom 1998

    This study examines how stories touch our fundamental nature and explains what makes a “good case” in telling a story that creates excitement in the classroom. The author asserts that stories are embedded with instructions that guide us through the complexities of life.

  46. * A Home for Toad: The Actual Story 1998

    This article presents a story and song that can be used to teach Big6 research skills (task definition, information seeking strategies, location and access, use of information, synthesis, and evaluation) to elementary students. Both the story and the instructor's guide are available online.

  47. Using Stories to Enrich the Physics Curriculum 1998

    This article contends that storytelling canmotivate and encourage physics students. An example story is cited that describes a NASA satellite's discovery of ripples in cosmic background radiation.

  48. Storytelling and History, Part 1 1998

    This article draws a connection between the techniques of storytelling and the content knowledge of history.

  49. Storytelling and History, Part 2 1998

    Teachers can take advantage of the effectiveness and familiarity of storytelling to present history and to provide students with a useful framework in which to dramatically explore and understand people living in other times and places.

  50. Telling Stories With Clay 1998

    This article explains that students created a personal storyteller figure out of clay that told about ideas or things important to them.

  51. Quilting Stories 1998

    In 1996 to 1997, Hyperion Books for Children and "Book Links" sponsored a story quilt contest inviting children across the country to make story quilts based on an historical event or a period in history.

  52. Teaching About Goods and Services Using Benny’s Pennies 1998

    This article provides a lesson called "Benny's Pennies," which is a story that (a) focuses on goods and services, and (b) prepares students to learn other economic concepts.

  53. Into the Curriculum: Reading/Language Arts: Storytelling with Story Puzzles;
    Reading/Language Arts: In Favor of the Dictionary;
    Reading/Language Arts/Social Studies: Using Almanacs to Learn about the 1950s and 1960s;
    Science/Reading/Language Arts: Inventions and the Stories Behind Them; and
    Social Studies: The Immigration/Integration

    This article provides lesson plans for elementary and middle school reading, language arts, social studies, and science including activity sheets for story puzzles, almanacs, and inventions.

  54. Reform of the College Science Lecture through Storytelling 1997

    This article discusses innovating college science education by reforming the traditional lecture through the systematic introduction of storytelling as a way of teaching the core material in college science courses.

  55. * Folktales: A Creative Way to Involve Students in Meeting the National Standards 1997

    This paper describes the use of folktales in the classroom, noting the instructional benefits, challenges and potential problems, and techniques for presenting and expanding on the stories.

  56. Learning from the Land: Teaching Ecology through Stories and Activities 1997

    This book aims to bring scientific facts to life by creating empathy for wild creatures and teach basic science skills by using creative writing and storytelling.

  57. Storytelling and Virtue 1997

    This paper emphasizes the power of storytelling, particularly heroic stories of virtue, in moral education.

  58. Storytelling in an ESL Classroom 1997

    This paper discusses the efforts of an ESL teacher in a multiage classroom to use storytelling to bridge language barriers as well as teach English, history and science.

  59. * The Art of Storytelling - A Popular Tool Used by Native Americans for Communicating Environmental Messages 1996

    The art of storytelling has cultural roots and this can be employed to teach a culturally pluralistic curriculum. Stories can be selected from a variety of sources and used to match lesson objectives. Criteria for selecting stories should include the authenticity of cultural representation, the amount of cultural information, appropriateness, and the estimated interest of the learner, be it a child or an adult.

  60. * The Good Earth Tellers — A Unit on Environmental Storytelling 1995

    A story well told will take root like a seed in the heart of a child. The Good Earth Tellers is an award winning project using environmental awareness books, such as Keepers of the Animals and The Great Kapok Tree, to promote an understanding of the relationship between man and the environment.

  61. More or Less How to Do It: Tips and Hints to the Storyteller 1995

    Methods to incorporate stories into the classroom are listed for language, history and geography, science, art, music, and math.

  62. * Storytelling in Early Language Teaching 1995

    The main points for using storytelling in early foreign-language teaching include: (a) storytelling should be viewed as an essential part of early language teaching; (b) the curriculum for early language teaching can be story based; and (c) finding the right story is important.

  63. * Storytelling: A Bridge to Korea 1995

    This paper recommends the use of Korean folktales to help students understand Korean culture and gain insight into their own lives.

  64. Storytelling and Science 1988

    This paper claims that scientific knowledge can be kept alive for children through storytelling.

  65. What Works: Research About Teaching and Learning: Storytelling 1987

    The U.S. Department of Education published the following research findings:

    • Telling young children stories can motivate them to read.
    • Storytelling also introduces them to cultural values and literary tradition before they can read, write, and talk about stories by themselves.

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Copyright 2007 by Jackie Baldwin and Kathryn Eike Dudding. All Rights Reserved.